Author: Renée Ahdieh
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 20 minutes
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.
Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.
Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.
The Damned picks up right where the previous novel, The Beautiful, leaves off in this four-novel series set in New Orleans in the 1800s. While the first novel focused primarily on Celine and her POV along with a few others, this one begins with Bastien and then begins to include others, including Celine. The story explores the villain of the story, Émilie, who I cannot wait to further see how her journey goes in the future. There is a lot of information thrown at the reader in this story as the fantasy/paranormal elements expand. While the first story primarily dealt with vampires, this story expands into the ethereal and werewolves, to name a few.
The side characters in this story, Arjun, Pippa, Jae, and Odette are explored as they all have interesting backstories and tie together well with the main characters. Pippa and Celine’s friendship develops more in this novel where the reader can see the bond that exists between them. Odette continued to be a very interesting character as she provides some nice insight into the world and it’s never quite clear if she truly aligns with Celine or not. There is a lot more to her character that I hope continues into the next novel. Between all these secondary characters, there are a lot of interesting backstories and motivations. There are many secrets between all of them that play various roles in the story with some being more earth-shattering than others, yet they are all interesting.
The love triangle between Michael, Celine, and Bastien continues in this story in a little more depth; however, I really wish that this triangle was never included. While the author writes Michael as a candidate for Celine’s heart, there is never a sense that this could become a reality making it seem like a waste of pages. For me, if the author really wanted to include a triangle, then I needed a lot more to make Michael a viable match for Celine in terms of chemistry and a potential future. I appreciate the author trying with Michael and Celine as she has no memories of Bastien, but it still never felt the stakes were high for the romance.
The universe in the story expands as the worlds of Sylvan Vale and Sylvan Wyld are introduced. As there are many different POVs in this story, it sometimes made it difficult to fully immerse into the worlds as it switched a lot. Each world in the two novels, so far, seem to play a role in the main plot in some way, so it will be interesting how it actually comes together. For me, this novel was a great set-up for the next one as the plot seems to be building to something bigger. I still enjoyed the first novel more than this one, but this one kept my interest enough to want to continue the series.
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